As a game, soccer is a about power and pace, and goalkeepers have to be able to deal with that power and pace. Footballer Simon Smith said that, "goalkeepers need a physical strength to deal with shots coupled with a speed of movement to get them there in the first place."
BYU senior Erica Owens is such a goalkeeper. Strong, confident, focused and brilliant are a few of the words her coaches and teammates use to describe her. According to Coach Jennifer Rockwood, "she’s been an unbelievable addition to this team, and she’s going to be successful at everything she does because of her personality, standards, and belief set."
Erica Owens almost wasn’t a Cougar. She wasn’t recruited by BYU because they weren’t looking for a keeper at the time. Situations change, however, and when Coach Rockwood found herself in need of a keeper she decided to take a chance on Owens. For the Cougars it was a chance to fill a hole in their defense. For Owens, it was a dream come true.
Owens originally played forward at Salt Lake City’s Highland High School, where she graduated with a 4.0 GPA. She was switched to keeper because of her height (5-11) as well as her reach and jumping ability. Schools such as Notre Dame and Utah were recruiting Owens, but when the offer came to play at Brigham Young, she said the choice was obvious.
The choice turned out to be a good one, for BYU and Owens alike. Family tragedy and personal injury both affected Owens during her first years as a Cougar. Showing true character, Owens fought her way through the adversity, earning her teammates respect and a team captaincy in 2012. The Cougars went 20-2-2 last year, advancing as far as the Elite Eight. Owens finished with 77 saves and 12 shutouts.
Expecting no less this year, the 19th ranked Cougars (15-4-1), have not been disappointed, nor has Owens who was recently named the West Coast Conference Keeper of the Year. The Cougars finished the regular season with 14 wins, once again earning a place in the NCAA Tournament. As far as any pressure that came with that, Owens welcomed it. "I have a lot more fun when the pressure is increased, because I know the stakes are high and if we perform then it’s going to be another one of those games that I’ll always remember."
You can hear from Erica Owens and Coach Jennifer Rockwood in this video.
BYU easily defeated Weber State 4-0 last Friday (11/17), giving Owens her 11th clean sheet of the season, and keeping the Cougars in post-season play. The Cougars played again on November 21, in the second round of the NCAA Championships where they faced the Colorado Buffalos (13-6-2) in Tallahassee, Florida and lost, leaving the season at a record of 15-5-1.